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Devoted users of Google (GOOG) Reader reacted with passion and some fury Thursday to the company's decision to shut the service down later this year, saying its usage was falling and it wanted to focus on fewer products.

"Shutdown of Google Reader because of a 'lack of consumer appeal?' No way. The simple reason: RSS can't be controlled and monetized easily," one Twitter user wrote.

Dan Lewis, a New York lawyer, started a campaign on petition website Change.org to save Google Reader that garnered about 54,000 supporters in about 16 hours.

Google said Wednesday -- the same day it announced a series of management changes -- that it will shut Google Reader on July 1. The product compiles feeds from different websites, allowing people who follow numerous blogs to track all their posts and read them on one site.

But the service has become less compelling in recent years with the growing popularity of Twitter.

Google said there were "two simple reasons" for closing the service, which was launched in 2005. "Usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we are pouring all of our energy into fewer products," the company said on its official blog on Wednesday.

Google has not disclosed the number of Google Reader users, but irate users of the doomed app took to Twitter on Thursday to vent about the closing of the service, making "Google Reader" one of the top trending topics on the microblogging site.

"The killing Of Google Reader highlights the risk of relying on a single provider," one Tweet said.

Some Google Reader users pointed out alternative readers such as Feedly, RSSowl and NewsBlur, and Feedly was quick to capitalize on Google's announcement by offering tips to Reader users for moving their data to its website.

NewsBlur said in a Tweet that its site had slowed because of the heavy traffic caused by users fleeing Google Reader.

Google said users and developers interested in alternatives to Reader can export their data, including subscriptions, with the Google Takeout service over the next four months.

Google Takeout allows users take their data out of multiple Google products and export it to other services.

The company said it would retire seven other products and services over the next few months, including its voice app for BlackBerry.

In a blogpost titled "A second spring of cleaning", Google said the latest closures meant it has now pulled the plug on 70 features or services since it started streamlining its product base in 2011.


(FILES)This January 11, 2011 screen image shows the Google logo in Washington,DC. AFP PHOTO/KAREN BLEIER/FILES
(FILES)This January 11, 2011 screen image shows the Google logo in Washington,DC. AFP PHOTO/KAREN BLEIER/FILES ( KAREN BLEIER )